Die Befristeten (Their Days are Numbered)

What would it be like if we always knew how long we had to live? How would we shape our lives and change our relationships?

In the early 50‘s Elias Canetti explores this idea and the questions that it raises in his piece „Die Befristeten“ (Their Days are Numbered). He depicts a society in which the number of years a person will live becomes their name. A central power known as ‚Kapselan‘ controls and administrates death. And the people are cheerful, because the knowledge and certainty of ones own death ends the sorrows of life. Only one man named Fifty begins to doubt the system.

Since its completion in 2003 the Human Genome Project has brought our world one step closer to Canetti‘s dystopia. Genetic analysis today can decipher up to 250 hereditary diseases with which life expectancy can be estimated. These scientific develop- ments and their applications lead to ethical, political and personal questions which pickup exactly where Cannetti‘s play left off.

Together with composer Detlev Glanert a new piece of musical theater is being developed.


A production by the Residenztheater in Co-production with the Munich Biennale. In cooperation with Nico and the Navigators. Commissioned by the Munich Biennale and the Residenztheater.



Tickets are available over the Residenztheater Munich.

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